Return to Dark Earth by Anna Hackett

Return to Dark Earth by Anna HackettReturn to Dark Earth by Anna Hackett
Series: The Phoenix Adventures #7
Published by Smashwords Edition on September 8th 2015
Pages: 220
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His career plan never included becoming one of the galaxy’s most infamous treasure hunters. And it certainly never included his one weakness: Nera Darc.
Astro-archeologist Niklas Phoenix loved his job studying and safeguarding artifacts at the Institute of Historical Preservation…until he learned that it was all a lie. Forced out of the Institute, he joins his treasure hunter brothers, but now the Institute is trying to lure him back for the ultimate treasure hunt—a return to the planet that seeded life throughout the galaxy. But only one thing convinces him to go—his deadly, seductive rival has joined the expedition.
Dangerous and enigmatic, Nera Darc has made a life for herself where she calls the shots and bows to no one. Niklas Phoenix has become her dark obsession and on the lethal mission to Earth, they are compelled to join forces to survive. But Niklas threatens to tear down Nera’s internal walls and melt the ice around her heart…but she knows caring for someone is just a weakness others can exploit.
As Nik and Nera strip away each other’s secrets, a brilliant passion is unleashed, but the dangers of Earth strike from every side, and a darker enemy is closing in.

I feel somewhat torn in trying to rate this book. Nera/Nik is a pairing that’s been a long time in coming, and ‘Return to Dark Earth’ promises a breathless adventure through an Earth so destroyed that it is near unrecognisable. Yet it’s missing the camaraderie of the Phoenix brothers that has been present nearly throughout the series, a component that I felt was vital to the mood and tone of the story. Instead, the introduction of new characters felt awkward and left me wishing that the old gang could have been there instead.